Medford, NJ

The N.J. Woman Paid For a Stranger's Wawa Purchases Only to Find Out Keith Urban Was No Stranger

Lisa S. Gerard

The long arm of kindness has a worldwide reach.
older woman smiling behind a bouquet of fresh flowersPhoto byImage by silviarita from Pixabay

At times, my embarrassment runs defense for me and I say I’m from the northeast. I gloss over the New Jersey part.

Many people are quick to judge, sneer, and cast aspersions about Jersey girls. The foul reputation is untrue. A few reality shows highlighted the negative aspects as if the population was painted with one wide brush.

Us Jersey girls get a lot of flak for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, we have a lot of hair for some reason, perhaps to help retain warmth during the nasty winters. No, fist fighting is not second nature to us, and we aren’t all tough as nails. But one thing we do possess, and you can’t take away from the women who originate from the supposed “armpit” of America, is our kindness.

Somehow, that trait is overlooked.

We are kind.

Ruth Reed, a retired middle school teacher from Medford, NJ, was yet another example of how generous we can be by her ‘pay-it-forward’ mentality.

What are the odds that Keith Urban, mega country music entertainer, would find himself short on cash at a New Jersey Wawa convenience store?

What are the odds that Ruth Reed would be behind him in line simultaneous to his resulting distress?

Pretty darn good.

You’d think his movie star wife, Nicole Kidman could find a few balled-up dollars in the bottom of her purse. Maybe she wasn’t in the car and stayed at the hotel waiting for his return with his hands full of their famous soft pretzels.

Those pretzels are soft, topped with a perfect ratio of coarse salt, warm and delicious.

When Keith tried to pay with a credit or debit card, the system was down and couldn’t process his payment. He was short on cash. The line of people in a rush grew impatient.


All the New Jersey resident, Ruth Reed, knew was that there was a customer in trouble. She didn’t know his identity.

She immediately bypassed the people in line between them and paid for Keith Urban’s snacks.

He thanked her profusely.

Ruth was no stranger to acts of kindness. She and her husband had made a pledge years prior to help people and acted on it often. They vowed to help anyone in need at grocery stores.

And Wawa.

She wrote on Facebook, “For three years I have made a resolution to once a week treat someone at Wawa. Occasionally it happens more than once a week.” ~

“We decided when we saw military people we would treat them at Wawa or Dunkin Donuts or whatever,” said Reed in an interview with CBS Philly.

South Jersey Woman Pays It Forward, Picks Up Keith Urban's Wawa Tab

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When she asked his name, he said it was Keith. She remarked that he had a striking likeness to Keith Urban; he must be a twin! He confirmed he was, indeed, the Keith Urban. Ruth’s skepticism at his assertion caused her to grill him with questions.

His security personnel made themselves known and verified his claim.

Ruth flushed with embarrassment. Keith Urban, there with his sister, laughed it off and stayed true to his warm and gracious demeanor.

The moral of the story has nothing to do with what Keith Urban did to thank Ruth. She wanted nothing notable and that impressed Keith more. It has nothing to do with the fact that Ruth’s only request was for a picture with Keith.

It has everything to do with a simple act of kindness that touched more people than those at Wawa that day.

Ruth posted their selfie on social media to prove she had truly met the entertainer. The story went viral as the story spread—worldwide viral. A story about kindness became a speeding train inspiring others to partake in acts of kindness.

There is a redeeming side to the internet and social media, after all.

Her post was shared thousands of times and she received incredible comments from people in her community. Some of them commented on how Keith Urban was the lucky one, as he met “one of the nicest ladies in Medford.” ~Hot Pop Today

Kindness Inspires Kindness

The after-effects of Ruth’s generosity, in part, look something like this:

  • The owners of Wawa offered a free cup of coffee to every customer to promote positivity in being kind to strangers.
  • MasterCard sent Ruth a year’s supply of prepaid cards to disperse at her will.
  • Carly Tefft, an aspiring country singer, songwriter, and friend of Keith’s, was inspired to write a song about the event.

Ruth didn’t want or need thanks. She never acted in hopes of becoming viral. She was kind with a charitable heart. It was the way she lived and her reputation for philanthropy was solid in her community.

Kindness can be, should be, and hopefully, will be second nature one day.

Ruth Reed was more than your average citizen in Wawa. She was a kind one.

I searched high and low for where Ruth Reed is now, 4 years after the great ‘Keith Urban Saved at Wawa’ incident, to no avail. I guarantee wherever she is, she is still being lauded for her acts of kindness.

In our world full of tragedies, and heartbreak, let's take the lead from Ruth.

Have you been kind today?

You don’t have to be a Jersey girl; just act like one.

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